Revolver is an arts and cultural magazine based in Lowertown, St. Paul. We aim to publish writing that is concrete and resonant. Our staff is decentralized and everyone has their own perspective, but here are a few things that we actually agree on:
— writing should have a clear take
— we like it concise, we like it immediate
— there is no formula for good writing
If you’re interested in submitting to us, do it through our submission manager here. If you want to know what our editors are looking for individually, keep reading.
You are only a writer when you are writing. Barry Hannah said, “[Writing is] a need to listen to the orchestra of the living.” So do that. Write hard and clear about what hurts. Listen and question and challenge whatever surrounds you since the very act requires unadulterated doubt. It’s throwing a typewriter into the Aegean Sea when you’re done because there’s a certain violence to the process—a clean direct and polished violence—because nothing, even you, is ever fully at rest.
I read because the world hides its beauty in strange places. Usually, I find those places in the middle of stories, in characters who lean off the page to say something unexpected, and in sentences that pull away the everyday scrim obscuring our vision. Maybe it sounds pedestrian to say that I want to be surprised every time I read, but that’s the truth. Let me into your world, one word at a time.
Read her column Built Here.
It should always be true, even if it’s a lie. I want the truth in poetry to slap me in the face, to be that shot of whiskey that snaps the brain back to where the Buddha was always describing.
“Buddha realized that life could be potent and delicious, positive and creative, and he realized that you do not need any concoctions with which to mix it. Life is a straight drink—hot pleasure, hot pain, straightforward, one hundred percent.” —Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in The Myth of Freedom
I want to read work that can stomach a million contradictions. Consider every simple form of potential in the world you have created, then leave most of it invisible. Readers can tell, and so can I, and I promise it won’t be wasted. We have been working, too. We’ve been worrying and cleaning shit off of people and looking at endless, empty images. Take me away from all of that. Nourish me. Stories don’t exist just because you like to write them. If you were alone in the world, you’d tell stories to yourself, but you’d always have to split yourself in two: teller, listener. We writers couldn’t exist without the split, so remember that.
I want vigorous stories. Ardor, focus, desire. Shot through with energy. Muscular prose, some people call it.
I don’t particularly care how you do it. Some of the best storytellers I know never wrote a word. Just give me the specifics.
Who do I like? Nabokov, Rothko, Bolano, Hirst, Woolf, Zizek, McQueen, Moore, Swift, Hemingway. That should give you an idea.
I need plot, character, and prose. That’s it.
Hard work and élan. And mettle, of course. Mettle enough to laugh, to cackle, to peal with howling peals. The page is a field of teeth to be arranged so that the shadows might speak.
Unclench, dammit, and write. I read to be surprised. I write to surprise myself. It would be a bore if I knew what I wanted. Surprise me.
A story is youth. Does the joy in the act of orgasm ever age? Not in its capacity. It is something that only diminishes with boredom. The same goes for stories, but the good ones coax the same response out of us over and over again. That elicitation is what makes stories eternal.
To describe what I’m looking for would be death to possibility, while the editorial process is the joy of finding out. Send me your clear-eyed risks.